Poverty in India has been cited as one of the main reasons why millions of children do not get access to the rights they are entitled to. India, being home to every sixth child in the world (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation- MoSPI, 2012), has not been able to ensure the Right to Survival, Right to Development, Right to Protection and Right to Participation to its children.

Any issue that causes a child rights violation like female foeticide or child labour, is a symptom of deep-rooted problems such as lack of livelihoods, caste or gender bias. Poverty and the problems arising from it, often hit the children in the worst manner because they are the most vulnerable.

  • 1 in 4 children of school-going age is out of school in our country – 99 million children in total have dropped out of school (Census 2011)
  • Out of every 100 children, only 32 children finish their school education age-appropriately (District Information System for Education (DISE) 2014-15)
  • Only 2% of the schools offer complete school education from Class 1 to Class 12 (District Information System for Education (DISE) 2014-15)
  • There are 10.13 million child labourers between 5-14 years in India (Census 2011)
  • India has 33 million working children between the ages of 5-18 years. In parts of the country, more than half the child population is engaged in labour (Census 2011)
  • Every day, around 150 children go missing in India – kidnapping and abduction is the largest crime against children in our country (National Crime Record Bureau 2016)
  • Over the last 10 years, crimes against children has increased 5 times over (National Crime Record Bureau Data Series)
  • Fear of failure in examinations in the second highest cause of suicides in children (Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India ADSI 2014) *
  • 19.8 million children below age 6 in India are undernourished (ICDS 2015)
  • Only 9.6% of children between 6-23 months in the country receive an adequate diet (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • 38% (1 in 3 )of children between 0-5 years are stunted in the country (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • 21% (1 in 5) of the children in the country suffer from wasting (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • 36% of children under 5 years of age are underweight in India (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • 58% of children between 6months – 5 years were found to be anaemic in the country (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • Total Immunisation coverage in the country stood at 62% in 2015-16 (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • 21% of the births in the country were home births (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • Only 21% of mothers (1 in 5) received full antenatal care in the country (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • More than 50% of the pregnant women aged 15-49 years were found to be anaemic (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
  • 42% of married women in India were married as children (District Information System for Education (DISE) 3)
  • 1 in every 3 child brides in the world is a girl in India (UNICEF)
  • India has more than 45 lakh girls under 15 years of age who are married with children. Out of these, 70% of the girls have 2 children (Census 2011)

While tackling the issues that poverty has given rise to, ‘charity’ alone is not a lasting solution to enable change for the millions of children living in India today, who have little or no access to food or education and are exploited daily. A rights-based approach ensures that entitlements are available to all children without any discrimination. They are universal and non–negotiable.

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